Tech Giants: JUNO CEO Josh Hotsenpiller on Building Event Ecosystems

July 13, 2021

When Josh Hotsenpiller developed the idea of a platform launching events into the virtual world, he sought a name that matched what he believed to be an out-of-this-world idea. Juno, the name of a satellite orbiting Jupiter, immediately jumped out. 

JUNO, Hotsenpiller’s company, has been firing on all cylinders since launching in mid-2020. Already a successful entrepreneur through CrowdHub and three previous start-ups, Hotsenpiller saw there was space in the ever-evolving events industry to reach a new level of connection. He has not so quietly been building an all-star team to meet the needs of the company’s 61-and-growing clients.

At the core of JUNO are “seven Es” — principles that serve as a North Star as the platform takes off. They are:

  • Expect Greatness
  • Energy
  • Effort
  • Engaged
  • Excellence
  • Earn Everything
  • End Well

The energy certainly comes from JUNO's exuberant CEO. Here, he walks — well, maybe flies — us through his vision of the hybrid events world.

With the rush to move back to in-person, why is there a need for virtual event platforms?

People are excited to get back physically, but I think there’s a realization that we leave a lot of people out of the connection who can't travel. People are now connecting virtually all the time, whereas we used to see people and share ideas maybe once or twice a year. So what we really see is moving away from a singular live event and into a living ecosystem year-round. Organizations will keep their physical time but are realizing it's time to move into the actual virtual engagement world year-round.

Travel is expensive, it's more expensive than it's ever been. And there is inflation. We don't know what's going to happen to our economy but inflation seems to be on the horizon. These things are going to affect travel.

What will 365 engagement really look like?

There are two things to consider. One is the power of networking. One of the things we're coming out with our second screen companion experience is where members can actually record like a 15-30 second video of themselves and then it’s similar to a dating app, and we find people you should connect with.

The other is themes. It has to be the right subject matter, and you find 14 other people or experts talking about a subject and you join in.

What do you make of Zoom fatigue?

I think everybody gets fatigued about everything. People just love to say it but don’t really mean it. Do we want to do every single thing on a video? No, but if all of a sudden we said we're going to take away Zoom, how do you think people would respond? Nobody wants to be stuck on any one thing. And when they do, they complain about it. If all I could go to was one restaurant, I'd get fatigued.

How should content be dispersed online?

I think the world is all about microlearning. It's three to five minutes in chunks, and if they want to go to the next three to five minutes they can, and if they don't, they won’t. For example, with Netflix, when you get done with one season or episode, and that little ticker comes to watch the next one in under a second. I think it's all about taking your content, putting it into micro experiences. Let them build on each other and then let the user go at their pace.

Do you think the rise of virtual events will negatively affect in-person?

If you look at it, you realize that most organizations get 15%, maybe 20% of their members to show up at a conference. That’s 80% of your audience who did not show up to your grand Super Bowl. Are you going to just leave them on the field? I don't think so. I think there's a big opportunity for both.

Plus, it’s smart business, right? 

Why would any of us want to bet everything on one day? It just defies logic. I think the idea is to want a vision, tools and strategies that drive revenue all year long.

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